Musicians shielding

Musicians shielding

Joint research by the Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy has revealed that 70% of musicians, songwriters and composers who are still shielding are facing financial hardship because of their continued need to shield.

– 70% of musicians, songwriters and composers who are still shielding are facing financial hardship because of their continued need to shield

– Over 80% do not believe the Government has a clear plan on how to support people who still need to shield to protect their health or the health of someone they live with

– Almost 40% will still have to shield beyond the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and the end of the vaccine roll-out

– Nearly 60% have received no financial support whilst shielding

Worryingly, over 80% do not believe the Government has a clear plan on how to support people who still need to shield to protect their health or the health of someone they live with.

The research was conducted in collaboration with ConnectsMusic.com and with the support of Help Musicians and Attitude is Everything.

Almost 40% of the 340 respondents to the joint survey, drawn from all sectors of the industry and all career stages, will still have to shield beyond the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and the end of the vaccine roll-out to protect their health, or the health of someone with whom they live.

Just under half of these are concerned that infection with Covid-19, regardless of the vaccine, may complicate other health conditions, and 15% will need to shield by proxy to protect someone they are living with.

The new research reveals that almost 70% of musicians and music creators with a continued need to shield have lost more than 50% of their usual income or work during the last 12 months and, of these, almost 50% have lost between 75-100% of their earnings.

Nearly 60% of musicians and music creators have received no financial support whilst shielding (60% of these because they did not meet the eligibility criteria) and over 60% anticipate they will lose 50-100% of their usual income or work opportunities over the next 12 months because of their continued need to shield.

The Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy are calling on the UK Government to:

• Extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Furlough Scheme for this group of workers and

• Make them automatically eligible until they can safely return to work.

Further policy recommendations to Government include:

• Providing clear, accessible guidance for employers on good ventilation

• Providing clear, accessible guidance for employers and workplaces on supporting this group of workers to return to the workplace

• Consult with this group of workers in decision making processes so they are not excluded from the sector’s recovery

The joint research also highlighted that almost 60% of shielding musicians and music creators are concerned that they will not be considered for work in the future because health and safety requirements may be more complex when engaging them.

Recommendations for the music industry as it continues to reopen include:

• Observing existing protocols such as mask wearing and social distancing

• Mandatory testing and support for Music Venue Trusts #take a test initiative

• Continued remote and hybrid working for those who still need to shield for their own or another’s safety

• Consult this group of workers on the best measures that can be put in place to allow a safe and supported return to work

• Support and implement the We Shall Not be Removed alliance’s 7 Inclusive Principles

• Providing mental health support for this group of workers

• Provide support to enable this group of workers to maintain their professional networks

Horace Trubridge, Musicians’ Union (MU) General Secretary, said:

“The pandemic has been an extremely tough time for people who have needed to shield. We know that musicians, music creators and audiences are looking forward to the music industry opening fully and are relieved to return to some sort of normality. But there are still many musicians and music creators who will not be able to return to work because of their legitimate fears about their risk from Covid-19. These musicians and music creators are concerned about their futures and how they will be able to cope financially.

“Musicians and music creators with a continued need to shield are being left behind, many with no support. The Government must provide clearer, accessible guidance, and ensure that this group of workers can access financial support to stay safe and not be forced to choose between going to work and their health. The Musicians’ Union will work together with The Ivors Academy to provide support for wellbeing, opportunities for musicians and music creators to maintain their professional networks, and provide assistance to access funding opportunities and would encourage the rest of the music industry to support us in this work.”

Graham Davies, CEO of The Ivors Academy said:

“For many, the worst of the pandemic is hopefully coming to an end. But for those that must keep shielding this is not case and we are drawing attention to their plight – they mustn’t be forgotten or left behind. Our survey tells the story of many music makers who have lost the majority or all of their income and will be unable to repair this financial damage for some time to come. While many return to some sense of normality, others are still locked down and shut out of the human interactions and economic recovery that post-lockdown brings. We call on the Government and music industry to provide ongoing support to music creators that need to continue shielding.”

 

Notes:

Music Minds Matter, Help Musicians’ dedicated mental health service charity, ensures anyone working in music can speak to a counsellor, free of charge, any time, night or day by calling 0808 802 8008. Earlier this year, after finding that 87% of survey respondents’ mental health had deteriorated during the pandemic, Help Musicians announced its ambition to significantly expand Music Minds Matter. This includes a national network of local support groups offering all those working in music the ability to meet together, with experts, to tackle issues such as anxiety and to build resilience.

The Musicians’ Union (MU) represents over 31,000 musicians working in all sectors and genres of music. As well as negotiating on behalf of its members with all the major employers in the industry, the MU offers a range of services tailored for the self-employed by providing assistance for professional and student musicians of all ages.

The Ivors Academy is the UK’s independent professional association for music creators. We represent and champion a diverse, talented community of songwriters and composers. We are a self-funded, not-for-profit organisation, relying on the continued support of our members and partners to carry on our work. The Academy is known internationally for The Ivors and The Ivors Composer Awards. An Ivor Novello Award is the pinnacle in the career of many songwriters and composers.

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